Maker community accelerates drive to produce face shields in battle against COVID-19

Face shield
Stock image, for illustrative purposes only

A local non-profit group is calling on all Ottawa makers to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.

Hacking Health Ottawa, the local branch of a Montreal-based global organization dedicated to boosting innovation in the health-care industry, is teaming up with CHEO, Algonquin College’s MakerSpace and medical students from the University of Ottawa in a campaign to produce protective face shields for frontline workers treating patients with the novel coronavirus.

Specifically, they’re looking for supplies to enable local entrepreneurs and others in the “maker” community to keep manufacturing the components for the face shields on 3D printers. Infection control experts at CHEO are assembling and testing the protective gear to ensure it meets safety standards, while Algonquin’s MakerSpace is creating prototypes for testing at local hospitals. Meanwhile, medical students from the University of Ottawa are chipping in to deliver the face shields and drop off much-needed supplies.

“It was clear that we needed to make a unified call to action to help health-care workers on the front line,” Hacking Health Ottawa founder Haidee Thanda said in a statement. 

Several 3D printing equipment suppliers, including Ottawa’s BuyaPi.ca, Toronto-based Filaments.ca and GreenGate3D, have already answered the call, but the partners in the “Ottawa Makes PPE” initiative say the need for supplies continues to grow. They are appealing to anyone in the maker community who can donate 3D printers and materials such as filament and acetate to the cause. 

To make a donation or get more information on the program, check out ottawamakesppe.com.